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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:03 PM
Original message
Two Out of Three Middle Class American Families on Shaky Financial Ground, According to New Report
Source: PRNewswire-USNewswire

NEW YORK, Nov. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fewer than one in three middle-class families in America is financially secure, and the remaining majority are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether, according to a new study published this week by Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University.

"By a Thread: The New Experience of America's Middle Class" is the first comprehensive report to measure economic stability across the American middle class. Based on national government data, "By a Thread" is the first in a series of reports and briefing papers that will utilize the new "Middle Class Security Index" developed by the non-partisan policy center Demos and IASP/Brandeis.

--
The "Middle Class Security" Index shows worrying trends:
-- Only 31 percent of families who would be considered middle-class by income are financially secure.
-- One in four middle-class families match the profile for being at high risk of slipping out of the middle class altogether.
-- More than half of middle-class families have no net financial assets whatsoever.
-- Middle-class families have median debt of $3,500 and at least half of them have no assets.
-- Only 13 percent of middle-class families are secure in their asset levels - meaning that they have enough to cover most of their living expenses for nine months should their regular income cease; 79 percent are "at risk" in this category, meaning they could not cover the majority of their expenses for even three months. Another 9 percent are "borderline."
-- Twenty-one percent of middle-class families have less than $100 per week ($5,000 per year) remaining after meeting essential living expenses. These families are living from paycheck to paycheck with very little margin of security.

Read more: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_rele...
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Physical reality catching up isn't going to be fun
We could do things to sustain the unsustainable a little longer. However, when physical reality starts to catch up again, those numbers will be worse.

There have to be consequences for ripping the planet apart.
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
2. Its getting harder to "put food on my family"..................
I guess they should keep voting against their own interests in favor of big business and the wealthy 1%. :sarcasm:
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ooglymoogly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
3. This country has been robbed blind.
By puppet legislators letting corporate Murka write the laws allowing the treasury and the people to be robbed blind and put in jail if they rebel.
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DeeDeeNY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. Doesn't bode well for democracy
For democracy to flourish, a strong middle class is needed.
We are in serious trouble.

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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. That's not really the case
You can't force fairness into an unfair system. To have a "middle" class, by definition you need upper and lower classes. So right away at least some poverty is required. You could bring everyone from the lower class into the middle class, but then the middle class would technically be the lower class. Then you'd have to bring the upper class into the lower class, creating a single class. You couldn't do that just in one place, it would have to be global. Then you'd have over 6.5 billion people living lives better than most kings. You think global warming is a problem now. Plus that wouldn't be very democratic for all the other species who would have to be forcefully eradicated, either directly or indirectly, or caged for their own good.
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. C'mon, fess up, you're really a Evangelical preacher, right?
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. The poster reminds me of my very RW very "Christian" boss who
Edited on Wed Nov-28-07 04:28 PM by truedelphi
Allowed other workers to get more work than me - and when I finally was able to improve a little bit financially would make "sympathetic" comments like, "Now that you are making more money, you'll be buying a house soon, right?" (I live in Califonia and to buy a house, you basically need a rich relative to die or else to win the lottery.)

Without home ownership, a person loses the housing mortgage interest deduction. And accordingly, you get taxed on 100% of your income. This of itself insures that you are on financially shakier ground.

Economists and social scientists have long said that home ownership is one of the requirements for a healthy democracy.

That ability to buy a home is being lost for various factors - one being the high cost of housing in many Real Estate markets, and also the ability to have a decent paying job. There are no more
$ 27 an hour jobs at the local steel mills, or any other division of manufacturing in the USA.

Even our research jobs in chemistry, biology and microbiology, etc are going overseas so the notion that "a decent education" will spare you has become a myth.

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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #17
33. There could be a solution for that
Everyone builds their own home. They would be far more practical. You wouldn't owe the bank any money. That would be pretty good.

Yes, you wouldn't have all the fun stuff that a mass society can build in and around a home, but as we're seeing, all that is not working.

If it's about home ownership, everyone builds a little hut for themselves, and there you go.

It's not about fundamental home ownership though. It's about fitting into the dominant system that is churning the planet into something that isn't made for actual people. It's about being owned by the states and corporations that use you as an expendable resource.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. Sorry. No building code would allow the sort of "hut" I would be
building for myself. It's criminal.

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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #36
39. Yep the building code regulations can be very nasty.
I have read more than one "greenie's tale of fighting the building inspectors.

Sometimes they can even prove that their way is superior to the way the COunty code wants something done. Doesn'tamtter, the code must be followed, even if you can prove that it is not necessary or can be suitably replaced with an alternative method.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. Physical reality is physical reality
Everyone isn't getting everything. If we do, we won't have a habitat.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
38. You missed their point entirely
DDNY said that for Democracy to flourish, a STRONG middle class is needed. Right now we have a strong upper class, a growing lower class, and a shrinking Middle class. A strong middle class means a more balanced and healthy society. If the middle class disappears we'll return to a feudal system of serfs and (robber) Barons.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #38
42. Technically, that's also balanced
"Right now we have a strong upper class, a growing lower class, and a shrinking Middle class."

Might not be healthy, but it is balanced. Just not balanced the way the people in the bottom two classes want.

"If the middle class disappears we'll return to a feudal system of serfs and (robber) Barons."

Which is where we would still be if cheap, dense energy that we found didn't allow for most work to be done by it. The concept of a middle class, or at least a strong and healthy middle class, is completely based on oil, or at least cheap energy. When the cheap energy that keeps the system growing isn't available, we end up with the actual state of the system; a few at the top, with all that human energy being used to enrich them. How many slaves are in a barrel of oil?

I'm not saying this as someone in the upper class, and I'm not even in the middle class. I would firmly be in the lower one. I didn't even make enough money last year to actually have to pay taxes. I'm not defending the feudal system we're racing towards. In fact, the whole thing should go in my opinion, since it's making us all crazy, requiring us to chase something that isn't there, and killing our habitat.
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Xipe Totec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. Everybody is up to their assets in hock nt
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bdamomma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
6. it's going to be a bumpy ride for the disappearing Middle Class.
and low income people.
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
7. Having credit cards pushed on everyone each time people paid the cashiers
really helped the fall into deep debt territory for many Americans.
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Mountainman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Having credit cards pushed on people coupled with their desire for more and more consumer goods.
People (I have lived like this) can't seem to curb their desire to purchase more and more. They find that the happiness soon wares off the then they need to shop again.

If there wasn't the desire to buy more the credit card pushers wouldn't have any success. Now I only use my debit card. When the money is gone I can't shop. I have to pay off those past mistakes but I try now to think about a future with less material things and more financial security.

We are down sizing in every way, We sold our second vehicle, we are selling our house and buying cheaper and we are trying to be out of debt in a few years.

People have to take the bull by the horns and refuse to see themselves as victims. A little help from social policies is also needed.

The housing and credit problem was caused as much by those who took out loans they knew they could not repay as well as those who pushed the loans on them. Short term immediate gratification was involved.
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indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:41 PM
Response to Original message
9. But, but inflation has been mild during junior's reign, so what's the problem?
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ihavenobias Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
24. Inflation
I'm sure you were joking, but I should add that most inflation measures are useless since they exclude food and gas, things we all NEED and also, things that haven't gotten any less expensive (to put it mildly).
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mrgerbik Donating Member (652 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #24
43. also - inflation is the value of the dollar
decreasing, not that the price of goods is increasing. I think it's important to remember that.
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. "By a Thread" what an appropriate title
The current economic situation is dangling "By a Thread" and the strain the economy is placing on it may well sever that fragile tie.

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GeneCosta Donating Member (190 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. Marx said the middle class will descend into poverty after enjoying the riches
Oh, how right he was.
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Hip_about_time Donating Member (11 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Duh, This has ALWAYS been the goal!
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AZ Criminal JD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
26. I have read my share of Marx
And he was right about almost nothing. Where in the world are you getting that quote from? Don't remember anything remotely like it.
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shain from kane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. You may suppose that "the middle class" is neither bourgeoisie or proletariat, but it must
follow in the class struggle that "the middle class" will be absorbed by the proletariat, because by definition, "the middle class" can never be the bourgeoisie.
The dictatorship of the proletariat is the temporary state between the capitalist society and the classless and stateless communist society. During this period, "the middle class" itself will be placed in the position where it will have to choose sides. However, as part of the class struggle, on the part of the bourgeoisie, they will want to protect their position, and they will resist any newcomers from any other class, be it "the middle class" or "workers". Their position is to exploit the masses, and that includes "the middle class". And since "the middle class", however you may want to limit its decline, are essentially to be classified as "workers" in the class struggle, they will be absorbed by the proletariat, since they are dependent upon and exploited by the bourgeoisie. It will become apparent that "the middle class" will never get a break, because the bourgeoisie will never give up any power. After all, it is "Workers of the World, Unite."
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Preening Fop Donating Member (166 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
13. Tis true, murikans become increasingly distressed between doses of TV Commercials
:nopity:
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
14. It's difficult for the middle class to get anywhere when jobs that pay well
are outsourced and they're left either overqualified for McDonald's or underqualified for massage therapist school. Add to that the rising cost of everything and it's clear the 79% of families who claim to have $100 or more left a week are lying.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
18. The buy now pay later American way is now catching up with reality.
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greyghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. That is the bottom line...
This country is not prepared for what's coming.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
20. My boss is very worried
He said "the economy is collapsing" and he's wondering how long we can stay in business. I'm looking at my bank account and my debts, and know I can pay off the one loan we have. We can hunker down at our house in the hills and grow our veggies hydroponically until spring.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:38 PM
Response to Original message
21. As Mr. Tudball used to say: "Thank-a yew fer datta newsa flash." n/t
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
22. can this be described as the BushCo legacy as most of these
...69% middle class families were are much better financial ground toward the end of the second term of the Clinton Presidency and were trending to much improved conditions had democratic economic and employment policies continued.

Once BushCo took office in January 2001, there was a mad rush to reverse everything which would benefit the middle and lower classes and virtually every priority moved in the direction of enriching the wealthiest 20% off American income earners with generous tax breaks and of course the war spending has enriched to top military industrial complex companies. The minimal tax breaks which filtered down to the lower incomes groups were all but absorbed by the inflation and doubling of energy costs along with the real bubble induced local property tax hikes and paper reassessments.

It will not take an economic rocket scientist to figure out the mass swindle BushCo took on average Americans during his pResidential twin terms.
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FatDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. But if they can keep cooking the books for another year or so...
...they can blame it on the democrats. Mark my words.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
23. this will be a bigger issue than the war next year.
i was received a call for a job that was 7.00 an hour with a raise 7 months to 7.50. i have to travel 35 miles. since i need a car that would mean i`d i`d have about 50 dollars left each week. i asked for 9.50 because i have three years experience they said no
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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 07:03 PM
Response to Reply #23
34. I'm all but certain you are correct but hearing scant little from our candidates on the matter...eom
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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:46 PM
Response to Original message
25. On the positive side, maybe people will finally start paying attention to real election issues
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Baby Snooks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
27. Welcome to the oligarchy!
And don't fool yourself. Some in both parties support it. Love it in fact. Because they are part of the "haves" and could care less about the "have-nots." Out of sight, out of mind.

And now in San Francisco, as Nancy Pelosi reminded us all, you can now call the police and make sure the "have-nots" stay out of sight, out of mind.

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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. The sooner people understand that we are in a class war, the sooner we can fight it effectively.
Left and Right, Dem and Repub are irrelevant. The only two sides that matter are the Owners and the Rest of Us.

sw
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mrgerbik Donating Member (652 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
29. The gutting of the middle class continues... n/t


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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
35. Wow. Another Mission Accomplished(TM). Another great job, Bushie!
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bagrman Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
37. Did any one else see where a,
European bank tried to foreclose on 14 homes in Ohio and they were shut out due to the fact that when they purchased the securities that were all of these home mortgages they didnt get the physical mortgages?
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mrgerbik Donating Member (652 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #37
40. wow no i hadn't heard...
if you find that link please post it.
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. It was a HOOT to read about!!!
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